Friday, January 29, 2010

Flexibility Champ!

To me, the Northern Harrier is the flexibility champ!  Watching them floating along and then twist and be on the ground really before you know what they are going to do is very exciting! How they are able to do it I'm not clear on, but they do.  I caught this bird just floating along and then, within 4 seconds, is perfectly flat IN THE VERTICAL direction - as he heads to the ground to grab at his prey!  It is hard to convey in pictures and words, the incredible abilities of these birds to twist themselves in mid-air and change direction, often 180 degrees and still focus on the prey! 

Moments of Beauty!

I am often struck by what I walk right by and never stop to admire.  Yesterday, leaving work, I walked to my truck in the parking lot and opened the door to get in.  The wind blew this leaf around in front of me as if to say "Stop!  Look at this moment of beauty!"

Thankfully I stopped, grabbed my camera and captured a few moments.  As always, doing that immediately moves me from the work day worries to being caught up in the capture process - and after, just stopping and watching the leaves blowing around.  After I had a couple of shots, the wind would move the leaf just as I was ready to take more; it kept happening so I put down my camera and watched and listened.  

Monday, January 25, 2010

Bird fun!

Murphy and I spent several hours at the refuge yesterday and saw a lot of birds. Most available were the kestrels and the red-tailed hawk sitting on top of a power pole.  Harriers were everywhere also, and I used them to learn about the panning capabilities of the 80-400mm lens that I bought a couple of months ago (not just the lens, of course, but the lens attached to me!).

One kestrel sat on a branch and preened himself - and made for a great picture.  The hawk I feature in the way it looks to me - a classic cold, hard stare.  While there is never a bad day at the refuge, this one was very good!

The landscape was filled with light and opportunities.  To the west, the sun highlighted the Stansbury mountains and to the east, the sun was trying to break through the clouds.  Both give unique views.

Saturday, January 23, 2010


Noel is a young, beautiful yellow lab that belongs to a friend who has pretty much lost his sight.  She is still learning about being a guide dog, but take her off the harness and she is just pure young lab love!  All three of us went out this morning and I got one kind of neat shot of her.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Diana and I toured the Farmington Bay Wildlife refuge yesterday, and what a treat!  Harriers were everywhere, surprising us from clumps of grass or just rising out of the rushes to soar past us!  And then the herons!  Big and little, they seemed to be everywhere in the grasses.  Here's one that was out in full view (although if you didn't look carefully, you would never have seen him/her).  He appeared to feel that if he moved very slowly we wouldn't see him.  What a treat to watch him slowly lift and place first one foot and then the other.

Next came the big guy - and he was not about to sit around while we watched him.  They are incredibly magnificent birds that carry that feeling of ancientness with them.
All in all, a great day at the refuge - what day isn't??

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Getting his exercise!

Murph and I went hiking above Research Park, which is next to the U of U.  Lots of natural live oak groves there, and the mulies congregate around there (so do coyotes and fox).  Today Murph and I were walking through an area and all of a sudden he stopped, looked and then ran very fast.  I never saw what he saw then, but later, I think we found the targets!

I don't think Murph would do anything but chase deer - but they don't need that stress either.  I called him back later, and saw a deer ahead that jumped across the road.

Friday, January 15, 2010


There is a simplicity in these photos that I love - uncomplicated subjects with a bit of light, some background thrown in, some color but not always needed.  It seems like we can get to the essence much quicker here, than we can in more complicated photos - but perhaps that is just my need to simplify!  Anyway, I hope you enjoy them.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Birthday party

Carmen's dad had a small birthday party today, and I had to bring my camera to capture some more Carmen!  Here's a couple of what I thought were the best! 

When she came in she was sound asleep in her stroller, and she kept sleeping for at least 20 minutes despite all the noise and talking around her.  Young children sleeping are incredibly angelic!

Carmen takes a while to warm up to me, as I do not see her all that often.  But once she warms up, wow!  She almost came home with us!!  We played with straws, took a long walk and generally had a good time!  This picture captures the expression of joy quite well!

Just as we were leaving she sat in a place where the rays of the sun lit her up so beautifully.  The light, the colors the eyes and her smile - just seem to come together perfectly.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Visiting St. George

Diana and I met Sharon and her friend Cathy for breakfast Saturday in St. george, and then took a walk past a small pond and along the Virgin River.  St. George has lots of birds and many of them are different than what we see further North.

The day started with this fabulous view of the moon and the morning sun on rocks just west of the hotel. 

We followed the moon into St. George, barely missing a deer that decided she had to cross the road at the same time we were driving through her space!

After breakfast Sharon took us over to the dog park area, which is a small, fenced in area for people to let their dogs off leash.  We walked past the area - but first enjoyed the pond life - the heron in the dirt!?, the Western Grebe looking all regal, and the beautiful duck, which is a female Merganser, if I read my bird book correctly.

We walked quite a ways - it was a warm day and wonderful to be out in the wilds.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Ambling around Springdale

After visiting my sister Sharon this morning in St. George, Murph and I wandered around Springdale and took a few pics while Diana was alternately getting a massage and shopping at Worthington Gallery!  Then we took a nap!

Across the street from where we are staying, there was this old Ford van - dilapidated and rusted but very beautiful in its own way.  The rusted surface with all the colors in it is like a plethora of colors and textures waiting to be discovered.

The simplicity of design of these old vehicles stands, to me, in stark contrast to the auto's of today.  I'm not advocating going back, but just to enjoy and appreciate the beauty of the simple and functional designs.

Later on we found an early visitor - a ladybug!  Perhaps this one partied too much and got left behind!  It made my day to see this fragile but beautiful being.

Out back of where we are staying, there is a nature park area, and Murph and I have wandered through there enough times that we were able to do it in the complete darkness tonight.  But this afternoon, there was this lane - a classic picture replicated around the world.  And there was sun on the grasses in the late afternoon - not always an easy picture to capture and be able to represent the beauty that I saw.  Here's a try at it!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Happy New Year!

We're staying in Springdale, UT, just outside Zions National Park, for a few days.  Came down to just have an escape and to have a bit warmer weather - and no smog!  Today the weather warmed up a bit, just in time to turn the ground into mud!  Of course, only humans worry about that, the dog doesn't care a bit!

We took a ride and hike around the Grafton area, an old ghost town that has some buildings in process of being restored.  This old tractor provided a few opportunities for shots.

Then a hike through the sage and rabbit brush past the Grafton Cemetary, where Murph chased rabbit tracks till he was exhausted!  He was breathing hard when I caught him up above me - with his new green collar.